I normally don’t make a big fuss about time penalties. Simply because I don’t like giving them. Luckily, it does not happen often that I do have to announce one. However, this one matters and that’s why I will make a post about it.
On the last day of his race, Steven Jones slept on the trail and was almost hit by a snowmobile travelling at high speed. As soon as I heard this I told Steven that the penalty would come. I just needed to digest it a bit. Obviously, the penalty does not diminish Steven’s achievement of having reached Dawson City. In his particular case, the 12 hour time penalty still leaves him with the medal, too. However, it makes him the last in the rankings and had he arrived in Dawson late at night on the 16th, it would have made him a DNF.
The 12 hour time penalty will also apply for any future cases of athletes sleeping on the trail. It is relevant for cut-offs! If an athlete does it a 2nd time, the consequence is immediate disqualification. The reason for the severe penalty is that sleeping on the trail can easily come with fatal consequences. In Steven’s case this almost happened. As you all can imagine, that’s an absolute nightmare scenario – not just for the athlete but also for his/her family, the other people involved in the accident and the entire crew! SO LET THIS BE A WARNING TO ALL FUTURE MYAU ATHLETES: DO NOT SLEEP ON THE TRAIL!